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Monday, August 31, 2020

Learning for the Future of Work

By Juliette Connolly

It wasn’t that long ago that we were speaking about the future of work as a concept to be considered over the next five years, but circumstances have ensured that the way that we work, the jobs that we do, when and how we do them – have all changed significantly and practically overnight. While the impact of the global pandemic started this level of shift, this level of change will continue at both pace and scale, and organizations need to be prepared for the affect for the immediate and the long term.  

Thought: Learning for the Future of Work
Learning for the Future of WorkJuliette Connolly
Thought: Learning for the Future of Work

It would be easy to dismiss the need for remote working skills, mindsets and behaviours as a short term response before we return to “normal,” however, it’s becoming apparent that the concept of office-based work and collaboration is a genie that is unwilling to return to the bottle. Instead, workers and organizations have discovered the benefits and opportunities (as well as the challenges) that flexible working brings. 

But this new way of working will require a fundamental shift in the way that we structure professional development, specifically in traditional Learning and Development teams. The foundation of success for the future of work will be less dependent upon traditional “technical” skills and rather on soft skills such as negotiation, creativity, emotional intelligence and service orientation.  

Fundamentally, the future of work will require employees with the resilience and flexibility to be adaptive to rapid change. That capability will be hard to define in a purely skill-based assessment and will be nearly impossible to test for, rather it will be demonstrated through results. That means the value that an employee can bring to their role will be less about possessing a specific skill set and more about the behaviors and mindsets they display in order to achieve their goals.

To harness this change, organizations need to shift the unspoken social contract that currently exists with their employees that says that the company is responsible for providing the direction and content required for professional development. Instead of creating expensive custom learning to meet a defined business need, companies must adapt their learning strategies to provide more access to a broad curation of topics and material and harness the collective intelligence of their people. This means that employees are responsible for not only their own learning, but for contributing to the overall body of knowledge. 

This learning approach needs to be embedded within the overall employee experience strategy to empower employees to take responsibility for their own growth by clearly articulating the types of adaptive skills that will be required. As these skills aren’t limited to purely technical requirements, it frees employees up to explore new ways of working and creative approaches which will help drive innovation.  

Rightpoint’s parent company, Genpact, has activated this approach through their Adapt and Rise learning platform. Inspired by work done by MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, the platform harnesses the collective intelligence of Genpact’s more than 90,000 employees. Using Genpact’s experts to curate knowledge for its distributed workforce, it encourages the flow of information and easier learning.

Our recent report – The Future of Work – highlighted the fact that in just five years, 35% of the necessary skills in today’s workforce will have changed dramatically. Jobs that currently don’t exist will be standard and will use technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve customer problems we don’t yet know. 

Employees must be empowered to help create the future of work today. Rightpoint can help you with the new skills, mindsets and behaviors will be required to remain competitive in the marketplace. Ready to create a positive employee experience in a virtual world? Let’s get started.